P evil is everywhere in this incredibly subtle and sophisticated; a strange oppression in the air. Andreas Fontana is a Swiss director who makes his feature film debut with this conspiratorial drama-thriller, shot in a sort of parched white, about the occult world of super-wealth and the things we don't talk about. The titre is the code word of a Swiss banker in the conversation for "Be silent".
It takes place in 1980 in Argentina, in the era of the junta's dirty war against leftists and dissidents, and you can put it alongside recent films, including Rojo (2018) and Francisco Marquez 's A common crime ( 2020), who guessed the almost supernatural fear among those who remained behind when people they knew disappeared and joined los desaparecidos, the missing. But Azor gives a nauseous new perspective on the horror of those times, and heThere is even a nauseating echo of the attitude of Swiss banks towards their German neighbors during WWII.
Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) is a Geneva private banker - elegant, discreet, excellent speaker of Spanish, English and French - who makes what appears to be an emergency diplomatic visit to appease his affluent clients and secrets at Argentina . He does it with his elegant and supportive wife Ines (Stephanie Cleau); his presence there is also meant to be emollient, to signal that nothing is really going wrong, and that it 's almost as a social appeal Yvan ' s customers are deeply troubled by the new political regime, and this It's not just because you have a liberal-minded adult daughter who has inexplicably disappeared. of them talk about itthoroughbred racing horses having "disappeared ". And what's even worse is that these people used to deal with Yvan Rene's colleague, a genius and exuberant figure who has also disappeared.
Yvan has no idea how or why Rene could have disappeared… but he did so in Buenos Aires. in the city, and seems to have recently, in a strangely colonial way, 'become indigenous'. Yvan searches in this now deserted apartment, finding only a list of familiar client names and one more word: "Lazaro". And in the final, chilling sequence involving a Conradian journey downstream, that word seems to refer to a secret new government contract or revenue-generating program, a way to revive the money from the dead: the kind of thing a Swiss bank could help. Could it be that Rene is missing because he broke the Azor Code and told people about Lazaro? Oreven invented Lazaro himself?
Part of the cold in Azor is the professional calm cultivated by Yvan and Ines; Yvan affects to never be really upset or upset by what happened to Rene and what is happening all around him. When the couple arrive in town, their car is stranded at a roadblock caused by military police who stop two young men at gunpoint. Fontana's camera shows these two at a distance across the street with their hands in the air and then, in the next shot, there's only one of them. 'between them. Yvan and Ines look away.
With a strange obtuseness, Yvan is upset to lose clients because he is too conservative, too sober. A boorish racehorse owner and his obnoxious lawyer tell Yvan that they are moving elsewhere. An old Monsignor is impatient with the prudent Yvan, who does not want to get involved inin the risky and vulgar world of currency trading. But all his conversations take place with an air of studied politeness. The fact that Yvan comes from Geneva meets with the approval of all because it was the favorite city of Jorge Luis Borges; the city that always remains the same. These people like private clubs, boxes reserved for men during races or, in a more relaxed way, stroll by the private swimming pools. (It's a bit like the swimming pool was an emblem of torpor and stagnation in the 2001 Lucrecia Martel film La Cienaga , or The Swamp.)
There has something dreamlike in the series of social appeals that Yvan and Ines make to a succession of wealthy, elderly, melancholy people who feel their life and prosperity are coming to an end but never respond to any sense of 'emergency. It isa movie that continues to echo mysteriously in my head.